Historians suggest that venison has been consumed as a food longer than other meats, including beef, chicken and pork, that are more popular today. While venison and other wild game have roamed the lands for millennia, the practice of domesticating venison for food seems to have begun in ancient times, during the Stone Age. While the ancient Greeks seemed to be the first civilization that printed a guide to hunting, the ancient Romans lauded the pleasures of hunting and consuming wild game. Today, venison is enjoyed by many cultures who still rely upon hunting to gather their food. In addition, for a variety of reasons including maintaining the natural population of the animals, farm raised venison is becoming more popular. New Zealand and the United States are for many years the leading countries specializing in the domestication of venison (already Krostitz, 1979).
A DFID (Brown, 2003) study concluded that some 150 million people still rely heavily on wildlife for meat or cash and that wildlife tourism might become an interesting option for marginal remote areas. Given that the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility spent $7.4 billion USD on conservation and biodiversity projects over the last ten years, the poor could also benefit from having more of such funds going to meet their needs. On the other hand, it is frequently forgotten by green NGO´s that wild animals in the landscape considered as dedicated to man-husbandry – not only in Africa – can cause problems when they eat farmer’s crops or livestock, spread disease, or attack people. Conservationists should think more about the bushmeat issues from the villagers’ perspectives, and not just in terms of conservation if their intention to protect some precious habitat shall be successful.
Solving the bushmeat problem in countries with weak institutions is not easy. So far efforts to find other sources of protein to substitute for wild animals haven’t had much success. Conservationists need to think more about the bushmeat issue from the villagers’ perspectives, and not just in terms of conservation. Working with logging companies, traditional forest dwellers, small farmers, and commercial hunters each require separate approaches. In any case it is a hard nut to crack.